Bill Would Allow Parents Say over Drag Queen Story Hours in Taxpayer-Funded Libraries

Israeli drag queen Yossale performs on stage at the "Video" bar in Jerusalem's Old City on February 23, 2016.
GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images

A Missouri lawmaker has introduced a bill that would give elected parent review boards from local communities final say in whether sexually-charged material and events targeting children, including Drag Queen Story Hours, would be permitted in publicly-funded libraries.

“This bill is a 10th Amendment bill putting the control back into the hands of the parents in our communities,” Missouri State Rep. Ben Baker (R) told Breitbart News. “The bill would give oversight through a parental review board to make determinations of what should be available to children.”

House Bill 2044, titled the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act, would require Missouri libraries that receive taxpayer funding to create a parent review board, composed of five elected parents from each local community, that would oversee sexual material for children, including LGBTQ presentations, such as the Drag Queen Story Hours.

The bill has drawn an organized protest from LGBTQ rights groups and library officials. LGBTQ supporters are advertising a protest on March 7 at the Missouri state capitol in Jefferson City.

The headline of LGBTQ Nation’s “news” story about the bill read, “Missouri Republican Wants to Jail Librarians Who Allow Drag Queens to Read Books to Kids.”

NBC News’s story, headlined “Missouri Lawmaker Proposes Bill Criminalizing Public Libraries’ Drag Queen Story Hours,” featured Shira Berkowitz, communications manager for Missouri LGBTQ advocacy group PROMO, who said the legislation was “just based on fear.”

“The oppositional spin is that these [events] are supposedly dangerous in a religious context, or dangerous because LGBTQ people are sexualized,” Berkowitz said. “Right-wing media spinning a reading experience for children into something sexual is what is creating bills like this.”

“I think what [Baker] gets wrong is that libraries are creating a very safe space for children to be read to, in a gentle environment and in a very playful and whimsical way,” Berkowitz added. “They’re not encroaching on any kind of sexual content.”

“There has been pushback (as to be expected) by the LGBTQ movement and Drag Queen groups,” Baker said. “Many are taking false headlines and disseminating that information without reading the bill. The American Library Association and its policies are to blame as well for pushing the Drag Queen Story Hours and age-inappropriate themes in our Libraries through content and events.”

Baker also tweeted several weeks ago that, as a result of his legislation, he has received death threats:

Concerns about safety at the Drag Queen Story Hour events, promoted by the American Library Association, made headlines last year when pro-family organization Houston MassResistance discovered drag queen Alberto Garza, who uses the name Tatiana Mala-Nina when reading to young children, had been convicted in 2008 of sexually assaulting an eight-year-old boy. The Houston library system had failed to perform a background check on Garza or any of the other drag queens appearing in its programs.

Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon, also faced backlash when it was found the library system had quietly removed from social media photos of the Drag Queen Story Hour that took place at one of its libraries during which young children were lying on top of the drag queens and fondling their false breasts.

MassResistance also released an exposé of drag queen Valeri Jinxy Abrego, who was scheduled to read to young children at a story hour event at the Leander, Texas, public library. The exposé included many pornographic photos.

In June 2019, the Christian Post reported that a Seattle drag queen “Teen Pride” event for adolescents included a raffle for a “breast binder” — used by females to flatten the breasts in order to appear more masculine — and featured a drag queen who performed a strip tease for teens while another got on his knees and howled during the performance.

The Drag Queen Story Hour website states the event “captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models” who can teach them there are “people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, and where dress-up is real.”

In 2018, a drag queen who helped organize a Drag Queen Story Hour for Louisiana preschoolers admitted the event’s purpose is “the grooming of the next generation.”

Dylan Pontiff, who performs in adult drag clubs and uses the name Santana Pilar Andrews, told the Lafayette City-Parish Council the Drag Queen Story Hour events are “something that’s going to be very beautiful and for the children and the people that supported are going to realize that this is going to be the grooming of the next generation.”

“We are trying to groom the next generation to not see the way that they just did,” he said.

“I simply don’t think our taxpayer dollar should be spent funding events or materials that are intended to groom the next generation for the LGBTQ community,” Baker told Breitbart News, adding:

The bill would give oversight through a parental review board to make determinations of what should be available to children. No books would be banned or censored (something the media has tried to say I’m trying to do) they simply would not be available in the section that is for children. Parents could still check them out and provide to their child if they chose to do so. I think this bill is important to the people I represent because it will help protect our children from the propaganda being paraded in front them in publicly funded venues.

“The Missouri Library Association will always stand against censorship and for the freedom to read,” said Cynthia Dudenhoffer, the group’s president, in a statement of opposition to the legislation:

Public libraries exist to provide equitable access to information to all of its users, as it is key to having an informed populace. Public libraries already have procedures in place to assist patrons in protecting their own children while not infringing upon the rights of other patrons or restricting materials.

The American Library Association (ALA) encourages Drag Queen Story Hour events and is supporting those libraries experiencing “pushback” from their communities.

“ALA, through its actions and those of its members, is instrumental in creating a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive society,” the organization states. “This includes a commitment to combating marginalization and underrepresentation within the communities served by libraries through increased understanding of the effects of historical exclusion.”

According to the bill, “No public library shall receive any state aid under this section if such library allows minors to access age-inappropriate sexual materials.”

The text continues:

The board shall determine whether any sexual material provided to the public by the public library is age-inappropriate sexual material. To make such determinations, the board shall convene public hearings at which members of the community may present concerns to the board. After receiving comments from the public, the board shall examine individual instances of the questioned sexual material to determine whether it is age-inappropriate sexual material under this section. The board may order any material deemed to be age-inappropriate sexual material to be removed from public access by minors at the public library.

“Any public library personnel who willfully neglects or refuses to perform any duty imposed on a public library under this section, or who willfully violates any provision of this section,” the bill states, “is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year.”

LifeSiteNews has sponsored a petition in support of Baker’s bill that has already received nearly 60,000 signatures.

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